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Reflecting on the "Sound of Metal" film - The dangers of loud noise exposure

By: Paul Harrison Updated: 20th April 2021 in: Latest News, Articles
Reflecting on the "Sound of Metal" film & noise induced hearing loss

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

The dangers of loud noise exposure

Reflecting on the "Sound of Metal" film

I recently watched a film called 'Sound of Metal' which follows the story of a man who drums for a heavy metal group and begins to lose his hearing, due to loud noise exposure.  We travel his journey alongside him and find out how he overcame his new normal with his profound hearing loss.  It's a raw and brilliant account of hearing loss, its challenges and how it can ultimately change a person. 

It's a film I highly recommend, but afterwards, I realised how little I've talked about this specific topic and it inspired me to write and bring awareness about this form of hearing loss.

Musicians are naturally more at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss

Musicians are in some ways worlds apart when it comes to genre, but one thing they usually have in common is some form of hearing loss or auditory difficulty.  In all honesty, it comes as no surprise after long exposure to loud noises and music.  In fact, studies show that musicians are around four times more likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) than any other profession.

Let's put this in perspective

If you expose yourself to long periods of noise exceeding 86 dB it is labelled as 'potentially harmful' and when we attend a rock concert it can escalate up to 115 dB, which is when we can cause real damage to our ears.  It is known that some sound systems in various arenas can get to 140 dB.  Imagine what musicians are experiencing on stage?

Frequent exposure to loud sounds over time will irreparably damage the hair cells in your inner ear, which are responsible for sending sound signals to the brain.  Musicians need to be able to hear properly to hit the right notes and words at the correct pitch and key, so how can noise-induced hearing loss be prevented?

It is preventable and protecting our ears and hearing is so important.  Hearing loss and/or tinnitus is not life-threatening in any way, but it does seriously deteriorate the quality of your life if left untreated.  If you are a musician here are some quick and handy tips.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss - Tips for Musicians

  • Test your hearing regularly

People who are exposed to loud music or sounds need to get their hearing tested annually.  If you've experienced ringing in your ears - ask your audiologist to test for tinnitus.

  • In-ear monitors

Collaborate with your audiologist and pick in-ear monitors that are bespoke to your current hearing needs.  This way you can hear the music straight into your ears as safe as possible, whilst creating a barrier to background noise and harmful sound levels.

  • Musician's earplugs

This will enable you to still hear your own voice and instruments clearly and safely - therefore assisting you to hit notes better without straining.

  • Electronic earplugs

These can be programmed to adjust to various pitches and sounds all depending on the loudness and environment you are in.  So you can hear the sounds that are important whilst filtering out damaging noise levels.

Think your hearing has changed due to exposure to loud noise?

Even if you think it is a slight deterioration - you must always contact your local audiologist to get your hearing checked. If you are diagnosed with some level of hearing loss it can be successfully treated and supported.  Ignoring a potential hearing loss will effectively cause more damage to your future hearing health.  Like all things, the quicker you get a diagnosis the better the outcome will be.

Contact us free on 0800 567 7621 for more information about noise-induced hearing loss or any other hearing healthcare enquiries you may have.



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Paul Harrison
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